Johannesburg, South Africa – A pioneering Mine Water Coordinating Body (MWCB) has been established as an outcome of collaboration under the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN), the South Africa partnership of the 2030 WRG. The MWCB, active since early 2017, brings together the mining industry and government to find solutions to the complex regulatory, institutional and financial barriers to improved mine water treatment and reuse, with an initial focus on the Mpumalanga Coalfields.
To date, the MWCB has attracted Anglo, Eskom, Exxaro, Glencore, Sasol and South 32 as private sector partners and is working closely with the Department of Sanitation (DWS) and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) who are key government bodies governing the mining sector. The MWCB is also engaging with other government departments to attract additional public sector support for their projects and initiatives. Effective regional management is important in addressing the long-term impacts of mine affected water, including acid rock drainage, acid mine drainage and saline drainage.
The MWCB has a number of projects in the pipeline, including the Mine Water for Irrigation Project, The Green Engine, Arnot Regional Water Scheme and the Regional Post-closure Economic Study for the Coalfields.
The Mine Water for Irrigation project is a research study to investigate the use of saline water that meets agricultural quality standards in irrigating saline resistance crops such as wheat and soya. The study will extend over a total of 60Ha of both rehabilitated pits and nearby unmined land. The study will take place over 5 years to assess the longer term impact of irrigation on the local groundwater quality.
The Green Engine is an exciting project that, if successful, will change the way we view mine closure. It is aimed at demonstrating the viability of an integrated land stewardship model where mine owned land, renewable energy and treated mined water will work together in an integrated system to develop various business opportunities that will benefit local communities.
The Arnot Regional Water Scheme is a project that will explore the opportunity the develop a regional water treatment plant in the Arnot area to treat excess mine water from several mining operations and identifying economically viable uses for the treated water.
Regional Post-closure Economic Study for the Coalfields
Before regional closure can be successfully planned and implemented it is important to first understand what the potential economic opportunities for the region are, in particular, what new industries can be introduced post mine closure.
This study will investigate these opportunities, research implementing partners as well as ensure that government planning at national, provincial and local levels is integrated in the closure planning process. The study will identify sustainable projects which will in turn guide mining organizations with their rehabilitation and water management planning.
For more information on the MWCB and its activities in South Africa, please contact
Mine Water Coordinating Body (MWCB)